The national Democratic Party is staring down a wave election that could see its majorities in the House and Senate swept away. An unpopular president, beset by economic malaise and high inflation, is unlikely to run for re-election. The all-powerful House Speaker is signaling readiness for retirement. The vaunted rise of the post-Dobbs abortion voter may not materialize. In former Democratic strongholds, like New York, Republicans are on the offensive.
So what’s the communications strategy on the eve of Election Day? Enter: The Red Mirage.
The late radio host Rush Limbuagh used to be an expert at noticing when talking heads and partisan media pros just happened to sing from the same hymnal. But social media makes it much, much easier to observe the formation of narratives as they happen. The day before Election Day, the clear narrative from left-wing accounts, media outlets, and partisan leftists revolved around the “red mirage.”
Here’s the gist of the red mirage theory: You may think things look bad for progressives this election season, and as the early ballots come in, your suspicions will be confirmed as GOP candidates appear to take the lead in several close races. However, experts say this is only a false lead — a mirage — because everyone knows that Democratic ballots are counted last. So prepare yourself to head to bed tonight thinking Republicans have won but trust that when you wake up in the morning, the final count will show that they did not.
Behold, the formation of a new narrative:
The peculiar thing about the “red mirage” talking point is that it’s not aimed at turning out voters, advancing some policy, or winning an election. It’s aimed purely at priming the audience to be unsurprised when Democrats in key races, like the Pennsylvania Senate race, pull out extraordinary come-from-behind victories at 3AM tomorrow morning. But don’t worry, I’m sure everything is on the level.